Quote Today

    If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.
    - Oscar Wilde

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    My Friend Want To Be A....Toilet! Share

    It's Day Three as a new teacher in my school - so far so good. I have yet to experience the stress & pressure that so many teachers have complained about. But I'll try to take each day as it is and not worry or expect too much in the coming days.

    Today was the Year 7 Enrichment Programme Orientation and it gave me a chance to get to know my 7G a little better. Being the lowest-end class in the cohort, I knew trying to maintain discipline and organization within the class would be a challenge for the day. It didn't help with the fact that out of the 11 students in that class, 10 of them were boys.

    Before today, we had a short briefing about the games for the programme the next day, and I knew getting 7G to complete or even participate in the games was going to be hard work. I was told not to expect much.

    Our first game was "Remember Your Friends" where each student were to introduce themselves and the person next to them and so on. A simple game, you might say, but not so simple for them.

    "My friend name is Harry. My friend 7G. My friend want to be security."

    As their Language & Communication teacher, I quickly found out where I needed to focus my teaching with them - everything!

    We had our light moments as well, and I too shared a laugh I couldn't contain with them.

    "My friend name is Benniface. He in tujuh (seven) G. He want to be a toilet."

    It was an honest mistake. He wasn't being a clown at the time. He wasn't saying that his friend wanted to be a toilet, per se. But he couldn't find the word he actually meant, either.

    "A pilot," I corrected. "Not toilet, a pilot."

    For most of the time, keeping the group in order or telling them to quiet down proved to be an effort wasted. I can tell you now that the fingers on my hands cannot count the number of times our group have been called on for making too much noise or disrupting other groups. I constantly prayed for the day to end soon.

    But God was not so forgiving today.

    Our last game was the Tech-Challenge where each group of students will have to make a simplified model of an oil-rig platform using just pieces of newspapers and some masking tapes. I quietly said to myself, "My group will definitely not have an oil-rig model to show at the end of the activity. Gosh, we're in for the shame later on, then."

    My fears seemed inches away from fruition when my 7G were not anyway near to building at least the legs of the platform even after 15 minutes. In fact, all they could do was to ask me "What is o-reek (oil-rig), cher?"

    After explaining in very "kindergarten" words and even drawing a very rough sketch of an oil-rig platform, one or two students finally knew what they were supposed to do and began rolling newspapers to build legs. I finally could sigh for relieve - just a bit, though.

    With just thirty minutes left into the activity, it was a reassuring sight when the others in my 7G group began picking up on what they needed to do. In fact, I was pretty surprised myself to see the students come up with a plan to make the legs of the platform sturdy and stable all by themselves. I began to see hope.

    After finishing the platform, it was obvious in the faces of the students that they were so proud of their structure and I couldn't help but be so proud of them, too. They couldn't wait to show the rest of students in the hall their "o-reek" platform.

    As the judges saw each platform being tested with weights, my 7Gs were all up on their feet, excited and nervous at the same time, as they waited for their platform to be tested. 

    The moment of truth came, and as I saw two of my 7Gs up front with their platform, I held my breath. I wanted so much for the platform to stand and not topple under the weights. The rest of the 7Gs were literally on their toes, perhaps gritting their teeth.

    As the last of the weights were piled on, the platform quivered a little and slanted a bit to one side..

    God was definitely forgiving today.

    Our "o-reek" platform stood strong and my 7Gs literally jumped for joy and cheered. The platform success meant a LOT to these kids. Their success meant a LOT to me, too.

    As challenging as it may sound to be teaching these students who may not be able to read at all or understand even the simplest of sentences, I still don't think it as an added burden that will probably not reap desirable (exam) results. Rather, I feel blessed to be teaching a group of students so unique & diverse such as that of my 7Gs.

    After all, where else can you get students who think toilets can fly planes?

    My Year 7Gs with their "o-reek" platform


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